The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

6 Mobile Applications to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

Drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Several companies are helping with this growing problem through the use of mobile applications.

August 2011, by Sean Lyden - Also by this author

When employees use hand-held cell phones while driving, whether to text message, read and respond to e-mails, or even make phone calls, they are posing a serious danger to themselves, other motorists, and the company’s bottom line.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on-the-job crashes cost employers more than $24,500 per crash, $150,000 per injury, and $3.6 million per fatality. And distracted driving caused by hand-held mobile device use is an emerging contributor to these accidents.

Employers are often held liable in distracted driving cases because of a legal doctrine known as “vicarious liability,” which charges employers with legal responsibility if the negligent act is committed by an employee acting within the “general scope” of his or her employment.

Also at stake for fleets is the risk of penalties and fees for violating state laws cracking down on cell phone use while driving. As of press time, 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have banned text messaging for all drivers. Eight states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. In addition, several other states have anti-distracted driving legislation pending.

For the latest listing of state laws banning cell phone use, go to www.distraction.gov/state-laws/index.html.

While a growing number of fleets have enacted strict policies governing cell phone use while driving, the challenge is this: How do you enforce these policies — especially if you’re managing fleets consisting of dozens, or hundreds, or even several thousand drivers?

Here are six mobile applications that automatically disable certain functionality within wireless devices while a vehicle is in operation, equipping fleets of all sizes with a practical tool to enforce policies that reduce distracted driving accidents and minimize risk exposure.

Several applications are available to help curb cell phone use while driving, including:

  • Sprint’s Drive First
  • FleetSafer Mobile
  • DriveSafe.ly
  • Textecution
  • Cellcontrol
  • Kyrus Mobile

Sprint's Drive First Application

Available in third quarter 2011 for Android smart phones for $2 per month, Sprint’s exclusive Drive First application disables some of the phone’s functionality when a driving situation is detected, locking the driver’s cell phone screen and redirecting calls to voice mail, while allowing access to three key contacts and three mobile applications, such as GPS navigation or music apps. It also blocks text message alerts and auto-responds to the message sender that the driver is currently unavailable. The system gives business administrators online access to configure Drive First for employees’ mobile devices.

www.sprint.com/focusondriving

FleetSafer Mobile Application

FleetSafer Mobile is an application designed by ZoomSafer (now Aegis Mobility) specifically for commercial fleets, available for Blackberry, Windows, and (coming soon) for Android mobile devices. The software automatically locks the phone during driving to prevent calls, texts, and e-mails. It also sends auto-reply messages to incoming texts and e-mails. Customizable and flexible to enforce most corporate distracted driving policies, FleetSafer Mobile can be triggered either by telematics, Bluetooth, or GPS systems.

www.aegismobility.com/distracted-driving/index.php

DriveSafe.ly Application

DriveSafe.ly is a mobile application created by iSpeech that reads text messages and e-mails out loud in real-time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone. It’s available for Blackberry, Android, and iPhone (and coming soon to Windows-powered mobile phones). Price per phone is $79.90 annually or $7.99 per month.

www.drivesafe.ly

Textecution Application

Once Textecution recognizes that the phone is traveling faster than 10 mph, it disables the phone’s texting features so text messages cannot be sent or received. The app is available for Android devices for a one-time cost of $9.99. 

www.textecution.com

Cellcontrol Application

Instead of using GPS to determine vehicle movement, Cellcontrol leverages Bluetooth-enabled technology that directly integrates with the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics to determine motion and implement policy. Compatible with more than 1,000 devices, Cellcontrol disables more than the cell phone; it also prevents distracted driving from other mobile devices, including laptops and tablets, which may tempt drivers to take their eyes off the road.

www.cellcontrol.com

KyrusFleet Application

Kyrus Mobile offers its KyrusFleet application, which disables texting and other distracting applications on cell phones and other mobile devices. KyrusFleet enganges what the company calls "Safe Mode" automatically when a given vehicle starts moving. The system administrator can configure specific settings based on company policy. KyrusFleet does not track employee location, read text messages, scan emails, web traffic, or monitor phone calls or record driving behavior. KyrusFleet works on phones running Android 2.2 or newer; Blackberry 5.x and newer; Apple iOS 5.0 and newer; and Flip and Feature phones running Java or BREW.

www.kyrusmobile.com

Did You Know?

Consider the prevalence and dangers of distracted driving based on these statistics compiled by Distraction.gov, the official U.S. government website for distracted driving:

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Twenty percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.

Source: NHTSA

Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the 0.08 percent legal limit.

Source: University of Utah

What’s Your Distracted Driving Policy?

Here is an example of Sprint’s Employee Pledge: “I will set a good example and engage in safe driving practices in my personal life by avoiding risky behaviors like texting or e-mailing while I am operating a motor vehicle. When I’m behind the wheel, I will keep my focus on driving.”

Source: www.sprint.com/focusondriving

Updated 8/19/2013

Note: The original version of this article lised iZUP as a provider. The original text from the article for this company is below.

iZUP Application (No longer in business)

Developed by Illume software, iZUP holds incoming and outgoing calls, texts, and e-mails when it detects that users are moving faster than 5 mph. Drivers are allowed to pick one application, such as navigation, when iZUP is on, while the administrator is equipped to monitor compliance, edit settings, and receive alerts online. iZUP is available for Blackberry and Android devices for $2.95 per month.


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  1. 1. Alan Pendergrass [ March 03, 2013 @ 10:43AM ]

    I am looking for a device or app the disables a laptop while the vehicle is moving. I am a business owner who has positions that have laptops in vehicles that operate utilizes a cell hot spot for communicating to our office servers.

  2. 2. Greg Basich [ March 04, 2013 @ 12:00PM ]

    Hi Alan, how are things? This is Greg Basich, with Automotive Fleet. I saw your comment asking about apps for disabling in-vehicle laptops while a vehicle is in motion. I’ve never used any of these services/ applications, but here are a few different ones you can check out:

    http://www.autoexec.com/laptop-disabler.php

    http://www.coronaservices.net/screensafe/

    http://www.mobiledesk.com/Laptop_Screen_disabler.htm#.UTT8BldZB8E

  3. 3. Sanpatrice [ March 07, 2013 @ 09:16AM ]

    all the above apps are good , but they have two big issues. 1 the passenger issue. all have some kind of over ride button to allow a passenger to operate the phone. this of course means a driver can just push the same button. And 2 , battery drain. If it GPS based there is a battery issue. Stoptxting.com has a ISSUED patent dealing with the battery drain issue , and they have a pending patent on the passenger issue. They think they have figured out how to allow a phone to automatically know if the phone is being used by a driver or a passenger and auto configure based on that alone. No more over ride buttons, and they have at least 3 issued patents, maybe as many as 5. and they are looking to licenses their patent portfolio . Stoptxting.com

  4. 4. James Nelson [ May 27, 2013 @ 12:16AM ]

    Alan

    We have the perfect application for your laptop which will blank the screen whilst the vehicle is in motion (except for ADR permissable applications like GPS and job dispatch) and will enable full function instantly when the vehicle is not moving. I will be happy to give you more info - visit www.blank-it.com

  5. 5. Kevin Wesolowski [ September 17, 2013 @ 08:00AM ]

    Does anyone feel the need to "catch" employees not following policy and holding them accountable? An actual writeup & discipline might work just as well from the other direction and provide peer pressure to act in the best interest of themselves & the company.

  6. 6. James [ February 13, 2014 @ 05:35PM ]

    I'm a huge fan of iExit. Don't know if there is an android version or not. Very handy on road trips for helping pick where to stop
    Also, let me share this list of the top safe driving apps - http://www.insurancepanda.com/971/top-9-apps-for-safe-driving-insurancepanda-com-review-2013/

  7. 7. Daniel Cunningham [ June 11, 2014 @ 04:26AM ]

    www.drivingtechnologies.com

  8. 8. Doug Mayer [ July 08, 2014 @ 09:27AM ]

    www.screenout.net for Windows Laptops, iOS Tablets and Android

  9. 9. naveen [ August 20, 2014 @ 09:51AM ]

    I am looking for a device.that is change the mobile features but based on useage of mobile the car speed can reduced.any bady can help me to solve the problem

  10. 10. naveen anumula [ August 20, 2014 @ 09:52AM ]

    I am looking for a device.that is change the mobile features but based on useage of mobile the car speed can reduced.any bady can help me to solve the problem

  11. 11. James [ September 18, 2014 @ 02:09PM ]

    Even though it's only on a few select phones, Motorola Assist is genius! Phone stays in pocket and answers calls and/or texts. You can text back by just voice... no need to ever touch or look at phone... texts are read to you. Then you can dictate the return text. Phone calls go to speaker phone.

  12. 12. arun kumar [ November 24, 2014 @ 02:47AM ]

    sir,I am looking for a device that automatically stop the movement of vehicle when there was chances of accident ,device to disable the phones,laptops such electronic devices.

  13. 13. Joanne Sgrignoli [ January 25, 2015 @ 06:19AM ]

    Great article! Thanks so much! An E-marketing Newsletter is a wonderful way to keep your customers informed. Kudos on the addition of Richard B. to your technical staff! He's sure to be an asset, as he's an encyclopedic resource of everything that drives.

  14. 14. Joanne Sgrignoli [ January 25, 2015 @ 06:20AM ]

    E-marketing should read E-mail! Dang auto correct.

  15. 15. Faisal [ July 08, 2015 @ 07:31PM ]

    A great solution to the Talking-Driving problem: www.drawdial.com

 

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